Jane Schowalter

Obituary of Jane Gregg Schowalter

Jane Gregg Schowalter passed away in Princeton on May 14, 2020, from complications associated with dementia. Jane lived in Princeton for nearly 50 years, with a 15-year interval in Champaign, IL, between 1989 and 2003. Jane was born on April 6, 1929, in Milwaukee, WI to Scranton and Violet (Durand) Gregg. She graduated from Whitefish Bay High School near Milwaukee and received a BS degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. While living in Madison she met her future husband, William Schowalter. They were married in 1953. In 1957 the couple moved to Princeton and shortly thereafter had the first of their three children, all of whom were born in what was then known as Princeton Hospital. When their children were young Jane became involved in community volunteer activities. They centered on the schools her children were attending and ranged from room mother to committee and officer positions at parent-teacher organizations for Nassau St., John Witherspoon, and Johnson Park Schools. She was also active as a volunteer to the Princeton YWCA, serving as a member of the board. She was Chair of the Pearl Bates Scholarship Fund and of the Princeton Youth Tennis Foundation. As the children grew older, Jane’s volunteer interests shifted to the field of healthcare, primarily through the Auxiliary of The Medical Center at Princeton. In that era the Medical Center’s primary fundraising effort was an annual community event known as the Princeton Hospital Fête. She had increasingly large responsibilities for the Fête, ultimately serving as co-chair in 1976. A lasting contribution to Princeton healthcare was her conception and realization of a Patient Support Program, along with her membership on the Board of Trustees of The Princeton Medical Center. Jane’s work at the Medical Center provided an opportunity for her to interface with the Family Service Organization of Princeton, of which she was a member of the executive committee. Because of her husband’s affiliation with Princeton University Jane also contributed her talents to University-related activities. Most notable of these are services as vice president of the University League and as a member of the Auxiliary to the Isabella McCosh Infirmary of Princeton University. Jane’s deep involvement in the Princeton community was recognized in 1986 when she was chosen to receive the Gerard B. Lambert Award, a recognition presented annually by the United Way for community service. The next phase of Jane’s contributions to healthcare began in 1989 when her husband accepted a position at the University of Illinois and they moved to Champaign, Illinois. Soon after their arrival she was hired as a teaching associate in the University’s Department of Community Health. This led to Jane taking students on hospital visits to learn what it is like to be a patient in a hospital. She essentially transplanted her Princeton patient support experience into the consciousness of students, many of whom would become nurses or medical doctors and spend their careers caring for people in hospitals. In 2003 Jane and her husband returned to Princeton. She reconnected with Princeton friends and made many new ones, joining The Present Day Club and re-joining the Auxiliary of the McCosh Infirmary. Beyond Princeton, Jane’s favorite place to be was her vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard. That is where summers were filled with the presence of children and young grandchildren, and off-season time was savored by Jane and her husband alone. A description of Jane’s life would not be complete without mention of her warmth and natural affinity for people. She thrived on personal interactions and was equally engaging whether hosting functions in her home for Princeton or Illinois faculty members, undergraduate engineering students, or the co-founder and CEO of Sony. In addition to her husband Jane is survived by her three children, Katherine Schowalter (and Richard) Lesch of Scarsdale, NY, Mary Raser of Rancho Santa Fe, CA (whose husband Jeffrey predeceased Jane), David (and Beckley) Schowalter of Holden, MA, and eight grandchildren, Stephen, Elizabeth, Charles and Jack Raser; Jackson, Clara and Dylan Lesch; and Timothy Schowalter. Donations in memory of Jane can be made online at https://allerton.illinois.edu/donate-to-allerton/ or by check made out to Allerton Park/University of Illinois Foundation and mailed to Allerton Park, 515 Old Timber Road, Attn: Ms. Jan Gill, Monticello, IL 61856. In either case the gift should be specified for restoration of the room of Jane’s uncle, John Gregg Allerton. A private burial service will be held at Trinity Church, 33 Mercer St., Princeton. A celebration of Jane’s life will be scheduled at a future date. Arrangements are under the direction of Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, Princeton, NJ.
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